Family Recipes I've Never Eaten Anywhere Else
Family Recipes Keep Memories Alive
Family recipes are one of my fondest memories of growing up. My very large family always got together at holidays, and like many other families, food was a big part of any get together.
Our Aunt Mary, my mom's sister, was a wonderful cook and her baked goods were always a favorite.
She had some recipes that I've never tasted anywhere else, namely her sweet corn, fried pumpkin blossoms, and gooseberry pie. Delicious! Mom made a few delicacies of her own!
Photo of my mom's crock that I'll hand down to my daughter. Mom made pancakes, snapped green beans, and made hundreds of other dishes in this bowl.
Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood
Sweet Rice, Grape Juice, and Fried Mushrooms
Mom was a good cook, but with a mess of kids, she had to cook, all the time. She cooked so much that it wasn't the fun event that it was for Aunt Mary, her childless sister. But there were a few family recipes that only Mom made.
Mom made sweet rice, something I have never had since, unless I make it. For dessert every once in awhile, Mom cooked a pan of white rice and spooned some into bowls, poured cold milk over it and let us add sugar. It was delicious. I had no clue that other people ate rice with a meal until I was well into my twenties. We only ever had it for dessert.
Another family recipe of Mom's was her famous grape "juice." We had a grape vine that grew great big fat purple grapes (Concord, I guess). We'd pick them, wash them, then Mom took 1/2-gallon canning jars that she'd prepared and added 1/2 cup of sugar, a cup of grapes, and filled it with boiling water.
She then snapped a flat canning lid on top and screwed on the band. We let them sit till we heard the pop, which meant they had sealed. In the winter Mom would have one of us bring up a jar of grape juice from the basement and it was so tasty in the middle of winter.
In the spring we'd head out to the pastures looking for mushrooms, the kind that are all bumpy. Mom would slice them in half, rinse them off, and dip them in egg and flour and fry them. So tasty!
Photo Source: sxu.hu/re-cre8
Canning Jars and Gaskets and Lids and Bands
Mom used canning jars like there was no tomorrow. We canned all summer when green beans were ready or tomatoes.
Mom made pickles and jelly. Whatever we had, we canned.
Crocks for Mixing - Everything!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sweetened Sweet Corn Family Recipe
So sweet it hurts your teeth
Aunt Mary brought her famous sweet corn in a big pan to nearly every family gathering. She used fresh sweet corn that she had cut off the cob and froze within an hour of picking it. When it was time to make her sweet corn, she'd take a couple of quart bags of corn from the freezer and add them to a Guardian Ware pan with butter.
I have no idea how much. She didn't measure it but I imagine she used a stick of butter and then she added sugar. Again, I don't know how much. It was so good though and you could definitely tell the sweet corn had been sweetened. I'm guessing 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sugar was added. She also salted and peppered it to counteract a bit of the sweetness.
Photo Source: sxu.hu/dinny
Guardian Service - This one's mine!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Aluminum Pan - Similar to Guardian Ware
The Guardian Service company made hammered aluminum cookware, often called Guardian Ware. They manufactured the popular cookware from the 1930s until they went out of business in 1958 when their California plant burnt down.
This pan is as close as I could find to match the Guardian Service that Aunt Mary used to cook her sweetened sweet corn.
Fried Pumpkin Blossoms
You had to get up early...
Each summer, Aunt Mary planted pumpkins, but she rarely got a pumpkin from the plant. She picked the pumpkin blossoms (fondly called punkin blooms in our parts) when they were open early in the morning before it got too hot and the blossoms closed up again. Then she'd take the delicate blossoms into the house and if I recall, she put them in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator till it was time to fix dinner.
At lunchtime (called dinner in our parts of the Midwest; the evening meal is supper), Aunt Mary would dry off the blossoms. Then she beat an egg, crushed some cornflake crumbs, and dipped each pumpkin blossom in egg then the crumbs and fried them in butter. They were always a perfect golden brown and delicious. These were so delicate and good. Oh man. One of those with fresh sliced tomatoes and roasteneers (corn on the cob for you city slickers) was the best lunch!
Photo Source: sxu.hu/plrang
Cast Iron Skillets and more - Cooks the best pumpkin blossoms
Aunt Mary cooked the pumpkin blossoms over low heat in a cast iron skillet. These heavy duty skillets provide even heat that works so well for so many cooking chores.
Aunt Mary's Gooseberry Pie
Tart and Sweet!
Gooseberries are a weird little berry that I helped Aunt Mary pick on occasion. I remember the gooseberry bush had sharp thorns so picking them wasn't exactly easy. But it was worth it.
If you've never had gooseberry pie, I'm sorry. If you have and liked it, you know what I'm talking about. Aunt Mary somehow knew how much sugar to add to make those awful sour gooseberries not only palatable but delicious. On their own, gooseberries are terribly sour, but at Aunt Mary's hand (and under a pile of sugar), her pie was delicious.
Photo Source: sxu.hu/technare
Pie Pans - and a ring so you don't burn the crust, missy.
More Family Recipes
A Little Help From Family
I recently posted a link to this lens on Facebook. Several family members remembered more family recipes that I'd forgotten about. Here's one of them:
From Doris: Sliced bananas with mayonnaise and pecans.
Yep! We had these a lot growing up and I've never eaten them anywhere else! The recipe is very easy. Take a couple of peeled bananas. Cut them in half both ways (long and across the middle) so you have four pieces. Place on a serving plate. Spread a thin layer of mayo on each piece of banana and top with chopped nuts (we used pecans).
Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood